If you love the Destroy All Humans! series, which only ran for three years but had four games, then the headline tells you everything you need to know: Developer Black Forest Games has done a superb job reproducing the original 2005 cult classic by the now-defunct Pandemic Studios. This remaster, which I played on Windows PC, runs swimmingly, looks better than most games on Steam, and stays loyal to the source material.
That last part is the reason folks considering the series for the first time may want to proceed with a bit more caution. Destroy All Humans! is a gleeful open-world chaos simulator. It’s also a time capsule of “comedy” video games of the early 2000s, crudely imitating the South Park model of “equal opportunity offender.”
You play as Cryptosporidium-137, an alien clone produced by the Furon species. Your predecessor, Crypto-136, has crash-landed on Earth, and it’s your job to find your clone sibling, recover any alien technology, and mine humans for Furon DNA, which was woven into the human population millennia ago by Furons who presumably raped hundreds of thousands of human women. The game compares the ancient Furon exploits on Earth to “sailors” having a good time. I told you — the “jokes” aren’t great.
Anyway, all humans have a little bit of Furon DNA, and you’re tasked with harvesting it.
This grand quest sends Crypto on a tour of six mini-open worlds in the United States circa 1959, ranging from Midwest farmland to a California beach town and then over to a parody of Washington, D.C. Each locale has its own set of story missions, along with a collection of optional side quests in which Crypto must race a drone, abduct dozens of humans, or destroy as much property as possible. Completing missions awards you space bucks that you can spend on upgrades — I’ll get to those in just a moment.
Nearly everything in the game can be obliterated with your UFO’s lasers, including trailer parks, homes, factories, and, of course, parodies of a few iconic American landmarks. Developer Pandemic popularized and improved this open-world destruction with its Mercenaries series, but even in 2020, Destroy All Humans!’ shift from micro- to macro-destruction is impressive.
Most of the missions, however, keep you on foot as the diminutive Crypto-137. While you can’t demolish a building in seconds, the alien has a variety of weapons and abilities. It can disguise itself as a human to enter restricted areas, and it can force humans to follow it or just to dance in place like drunken fools. Crypto carries the arsenal of a small army in its pockets, including a death ray that arcs electricity between human targets, and a black hole that dematerializes everything in its radius.
Every weapon has its own set of upgrades, as do Crypto’s ship, shields, and telekinetic abilities. Telekinesis is the showpiece — your little alien lifting cows and people and cars, and firing them into the horizon, never gets tiresome. My favorite upgrade turns Crypto’s feet into a hoverboard, allowing him to skate, Tony Hawk-style, across crowded suburbs and empty deserts.
There’s no good reason for this skateboard mechanic to be in the game, other than the fact that it feels fun. Which really sums up Destroy All Humans! in general.
Of course, not all goofs are good. One of the weapons is an anal probe, which features optional upgrades like Butt Pressure Maximizer. “Greatly increases the damage d